Torcolo of S. Costanzo Print

This is a ring-shaped cake, typical of the Perugia area. It is cut to look like a pentagon which, according to tradition, indicates the five gates of Perugia. The Torcolo di San Costanzo was created in honour of St. Costanzo, patron saint of Perugia, who was condemned to be beheaded. This cake was originally a poor food, prepared with simple ingredients that were easy to come by and was, in fact, made using bread dough as its base.

Regarding the origin of its ring-shape, there are various explanations:

a) it is said that the hole represents the headless neck of the Saint;

b) it is said that the ring shape represents the Saint’s necklace, rich with precious stones (hence the candied citron) that slipped off when he was beheaded;

c) it is said that the hole is simply there to make it easier to slip the cakes onto sticks for transportation to fairs and markets.

From interviews with the manufacturers: Carla Shucani (Sandri); Mario Lupi (Lupi); Gianfranco Alunni (Alunni).

Ingredients (from the recipe of the Italian Academy of Perugian Cuisine): Soft wheat flour, water, yeast (the original recipe includes the use of “sour yeast”, which is a natural yeast obtained from the fermentation of flour and water - although, the recipe does allow the use or addition of beer yeast), extra virgin olive oil, sugar, raisins, real candied peel from good quality candied citron (green in colour with adequate flavour), pine nuts, anise seeds.

Preparation method: Flour, water and yeast are mixed together and left to rise (this is called “biga” - a type of pre-ferment) at a constant, medium temperature for about 3-4 hours, in covered plastic containers. When the dough has doubled in size, the following ingredients are added: sugar, raisins, diced candied citron, pine nuts, aniseed and extra virgin olive oil. The dough is kneaded until it is smooth, made into ring shapes and five diagonal cuts are made on each ring, representing the five gates of Perugia. The rings are then put onto a baking tray and cooked in the oven for about 30 minutes.

This is a fresh product and should be kept at a temperature of about 6° to 8° C for no more than 2-3 days.

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